grilled, glorious cheese

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peering into the cheese case, so many choices

Glorious grilled cheese, the melty, toasted sandwich of childhood dreams is being celebrated this month.  Yep, a whole month dedicated to slices of bread fused together with creamy, dreamy cheese.

I’ve written about this tasty sidekick to tomato soup before; waxing eloquent, I might be obsessed.

Food history dates the sandwich back to the Romans, morphing to the French version in the form of Croque Monsieur which introduced thin slices of ham and pungent Dijon mustard.  Grilled cheese made its American debut in the 1920’s.  Ubiquitous sliced white, squishy bread and processed American cheese were cheap; making a filling meal for budget-crunched families.

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cheddar and monterey jack with fresh basil leaves

I’m a big girl now.  My grilled cheese doesn’t look anything like the originals.  Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a loaf of white, air-filled bread.  Does anyone else remember having bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread, slathered with Miracle Whip?  I’m pretty sure one of my siblings lived on those.

These days, the bread is hearty, the cheese assorted, and fruit and vegetables sneak their way in to my hand-held comfort food, which still gets dunked into a cup of tomato soup.

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spicy pepper infused cheese mellowd by roasted golden beets

When making a grilled cheese sandwich a few rules should be followed.  I’m not really into following rules when cooking, so maybe we should call these really, really good suggestions.

You need to have a cheese that melts well.  I won’t go into the science behind this concept, but some just stay crumbly.  That’s what certain cheese is designed to do.  Others turn into molten goodness when heated.  Good candidates for melting are Cheddar, Swiss, Brie, Gouda or Havarti. Increase the melting ease by grating instead of slicing the cheese.  This isn’t necessary, but the result is superb.

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grated white and sharp cheddar with tart-sweet fuji apples

Pick sturdy bread, maybe even one that compliments the cheese.  For example, I will pair cinnamon raisin bread with snappy, sharp cheddar.  Apply butter, olive oil even a smattering of mayo to the outside of the bread.  This is an important step to achieve the desired crisp, toasted result.

Keep it simple, or choose some add-ins.  This is where you can be an innovative genius (and wow your family and friends.)  Think about tucking in some fresh basil leaves and sundried tomatoes, thin slices of apple, roasted beets or bits of ham.  Spread on some pesto or sweet-hot pepper jelly.  This is also where other cheese can come into play – those that don’t fit the molten-factor, but up the flavor sketch.  Feta with spinach leaves, parmesan and pears, or how about asparagus with brie?

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apples, cheddar and dave’s killer bread

The final tip is, don’t be in a hurry.  The last thing you want to happen to your brilliant creation is turning it into burnt toast.  Heat the skillet to a medium-low temp.  Allow the bread to toast, forming a crust before sticking a lid on it to capture the heat.  Flip the sandwich and repeat.

cheese + bread = a happy me

Missy

 

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4 thoughts on “grilled, glorious cheese

  1. Yum!! Fabulous post! I don’t make grilled cheese sandwiches very often. But your very, very good suggestions are making me rethink this.
    I only bought wonderbread once when my kids were young and wanted to see what all there friends were eating. Fortunately they didn’t like it, and after several weeks on the counter I tossed it. It was still soft and spongy! 😬
    Next time I am up near Edelweiss, I’ll get some good bread and get creative with your tips! Thanks Missy! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! We live on assorted types of grilled cheese in the winter. Almost like a casserole between slices of bread, they’re a great way to use leftover bits.
      Funny story re: Wonder Bread…my hubby bought a loaf one time as a visual aide. He was able to squeeze the whole loaf into the size of a baseball. Our kids never really liked it either, but my brother sure did, back in the day!

      Liked by 1 person

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